For the past 12 weeks, I’ve been targeting the Fargo Mini Marathon as a race I wanted to run fast. I really have been hoping to set a PR (currently 1:31:06), but I knew I wasn’t quite in as good of shape as I was when I ran my PR. When I ran my PR, I was in killer shape and ran what I felt like was a poor race. But, since I was in such good shape, I still managed to PR by a little over a minute and a half.
Coming into the race, my training over the last six weeks has been good, but not great. I’d been averaging around 40 mpw. I’ve been getting really good long runs consistently every weekend, but my speedwork wasn’t what I was hoping for. I also had a wedding that came up sort of late in the game, so I wound up spending 8 hours in the car the day before the race. It’s not ideal for racing a fast time, but at the same time, you’ve got to live life.
Mile 1 – 6:28 – Was really disappointed in myself this mile. My goal coming into the race was to average 6:52’s. I knew coming in that it would be a tall order, but I thought it was possible. I like to run the first three miles slower, so I was thinking somewhere in the 6:55-7:15 range for the first mile. I went out and ran super easy and still ran a 6:28 (which, I knew, was going to screw me in this race…)
Mile 2 – 6:48 – A little bit of wind in this mile. I was worried because I wasn’t too familiar with the course, but if I got this much wind for half the race, it wasn’t going to be fun.
Mile 3 – 7:14 – I was trying to be optimistic and tell myself that if I would have run a 7:14/6:48/6:28 in reverse order, I’d be feeling really happy about my start of the race. I know too much about running to know that isn’t the case, though. My goal now switch from PR to running faster than I ran in at the Dick Beardsley half in September.
Mile 4 – 7:14 – Maintaining, but still was a little upset at myself for going out so fast.
Mile 5 – 7:24 – Was really disappointed to see the 20s. I was doing math in my head and figuring if I could keep under 7:10s at this point, I could run in the 1:32s which wouldn’t be too bad.
Mile 6 – 7:20 – 1:32s not looking super likely.
Mile 7 – 7:27 – Yeah, scratch 1:32. Let’s just run faster than Beardsley.
Mile 8 – 6:59 – I was really proud of this race. When the day is done, this race is going to go down as a very “average” race. It wasn’t bad, but I certainly didn’t run up to my potential. I was proud, though, that I had a few bad miles and managed to run a few quicker ones. If nothing, I think I showed myself a little more guts than was necessary.
Mile 9 – 7:23 – I was a little disappointed for running in the 7:20s again, but maybe I shouldn’t have been. As I look back on my Beardsley race and my Park Rapids race, I averaged 7:41s (Beardsley) and 7:33s (Park Rapids) for the last 5 miles. I wound up averaging 6 seconds faster than my fastest last 5 miles from the other two races with a horrendous last mile.
Mile 10 – 6:59 – My proudest mile of the race. At this point, I kept thinking if I could just run three more 7s (or even, optimistically, close in 6:30), which would put me into the 1:32-high range (which I’d be quite happy with).
Mile 11 – 7:24 – Didn’t quite have 7 minute miles in me at this point. I was still pushing, though.
Mile 12 – 7:20 – Alright, doing the math that if I run the last mile in 7:20 (do-able) and kick a good finish, I could break 1:34.
Mile 13 – 8:06 – I’d love to say that I just didn’t have it. I was hurting at this point of the race, but I think I was mentally disengaged. I’d spent a lot of the race pushing myself. I wanted to push myself at this point. If my life depended on it, could I have run this mile faster? Certainly… I have no doubt in my mind.
0.1 – 0:41 – Final time of 1:34:53
Really strange that I’m running these races in 30 second increments. My last three half marathons have all ended in either 53 or 23 seconds. I ran this race exactly 1:30 faster than Dick Beardsley in September and exactly 2:00 faster than the Fish Hook half in August.
All in all, a good race, but nowhere near a satisfying race. I think I was somewhat close to PR shape. I’ve gotten good workouts and consistent long runs, but I don’t think my chaotic week helped foster a best time. That being said, I’m still improving over my last two races, so I can hardly complain.
Big congrats go out to my wife, though. She’s run probably around 15-20 half marathons in her lifetime and typically runs between 2:09 and 2:12. At the Fargo Marathon this year, she ran a great race around 2:06-ish, but forgot to wear her chip. Saturday, she ran 2:00:56 making it a new PR by six minutes (and a new “official” PR by probably about 8 or 9). She ran a killer race and I’m extremely proud of her.
So – what’s next? I don’t have any goal races, but I might try to focus on some speedwork this winter. Ideally, my plan will be to do speedwork 1-2 nights/week, wake up early a few mornings every week to get in “the miles” and get a good long run every weekend (ideally, watching my beloved Arsenal early in the mornings on Saturday or Sunday) on the treadmill.
Which brings me to my next problem. As I was running on the treadmill last week, I noticed it was getting increasingly wobblier. I thought it was strange. A few minutes later, I noticed the distinct smell of burning rubber. I looked down and my treadmill belt was way to the left and frayed. I was bummed because I knew I was going to have to replace the belt (see ya later $180). As I was taking it apart to survey the damage, I noticed something that made me super bummed. I noticed the four “legs” of the treadmill weren’t even meaning every step, my treadmill was “bouncing” about 1/2 of an inch. As I flipped over my treadmill, I noticed that the bottom frame was broken (see attached picture to the right). To make matters worse, the company that makes the treadmill (Pacemaster) moved to Canada and is no longer supporting their “lifetime” frame warranty, 12 year motor warranty or 5 year parts warranty. A little under five years ago, my wife & I bought the treadmill and I am just depressed because I don’t know how/when we are going to get this thing fixed. As I run on the TM probably 3 times per week (which will be increasing in the winter), I really want to get this fixed as soon as possible. So, if anyone has advice as to what I can do there, it would be greatly appreciated.